Alarm as Teachers threaten to Go on Another Strike

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary-General Wilson Sossion has threatened to call a nationwide teachers’ strike on September 1 should their employer not stop the ongoing performance appraisals and delocalisation of teachers.

Speaking at Urban Primary school in Embu during the local branch annual general meeting on Saturday, Mr Sossion said teachers were being forced to fill forms at cyber cafes since schools were not equipped with proper ICT centres.

The Knut secretary-general said the appraisals were meant to humiliate and bully teachers.

He said the Teachers Service Commission should formulate other modes of assessing teachers’ performance. Mr Sossion also demanded that teachers, who have acquired relevant higher qualifications, be automatically promoted and their salaries adjusted from the date of their graduation.

He said that TSC had turned against teachers instead of safeguarding their interests. Mr Sossion said the morale of teachers was low because of the stringent rules on appraisals, fear of delocalisation and failure to promote those who had acquired new certificates.

He said most teachers struggled to raise fees in their quest for higher education and their efforts should be rewarded by the government. His remarks were supported by Runyenjes MP Eric Muchangi who noted that teachers spent most of their time at cyber cafes filing appraisal forms instead of teaching.

The MP promised to raise the matter in Parliament for review. “The TSC is what it is because of the struggle of the teachers of this country. We wanted an employer with the capacity to recruit and manage the welfare of the teachers and not one that would be used to humiliate, bully and hurt teachers,” said Mr Sossion.

“From 2015, the reforms and policies being undertaken by TSC are meant to humiliate teachers. We are being forced to use our own money to fill (appraisal) forms in cyber cafes. We were not trained to work in cyber cafes, this is workplace bullying and we shall bury it by September 1, 2018,” said Mr Sossion.

This is not the first time that President Uhuru’s government has been rocked by teachers’ strikes. In fact you may argue that this government has witnessed the highest number of go-slows from the teaching fraternity.

Mr. Sossion had threatened to call for a strike before schools opened this term citing massive teacher transfers and performance appraisals, describing them as illegal and a setback to quality education.

Speaking at Homa Bay High School during a Knut annual general meeting in April, the union boss said the new policies were having a negative impact on teachers’ performance.

“There is no school that will be opened for the second term if the government fails to meet these demands. We will call for a massive strike in this country from the opening day,” said Mr Sossion, who was accompanied by Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga.

He said many teachers were spending of their time in cyber cafes filling out appraisal forms instead of teaching.

“Teachers have been turned into clerical officers who walk from one cyber café to another while feeling the TPAD forms. Teachers were employed to teach and this must stop,” he added.

Ms Wanga said teachers who teach in their own home areas offer various forms of aid to the society.

“Teachers are resources in their own home areas. Village funerals, school fee shortage and any other forms of financial issues are directed to teachers hence delocalisation will disrupt lives,” said  Ms Wanga.

We are still waiting to see how the government will react to the latest threats since, third term is always a very crucial period for the Education Calendar, with national exams the only priority.

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